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Mark Anderson

Precisely the sort of writing--historical-explanatory--for which I have long appreciated your posts (especially those in the history of philosophy and science). Thank you, and I look forward to your future pieces on this book.

Anna Alexandrova

Thank you for this, Eric! Very revealing. Two questions that are both very big and you should feel free to ignore them:
A) do you think Friedman's Monetary History is at odds with his Methodology of Positive Economics? (You probably mentioned it before but I forget). In which case it's not all the way Milton Piketty, right?
B) how does serial history compare to the sort of macro history that we encounter in Jared Diamond?

Looking forward to your entries as you read...

eric Schliesser

A) Kevin Hoover has done interesting work on this question, so you should really ask him. From my end: it depends a lot on what you take F1953 to be saying (and that is very controversial). If you think it is about a defense of instrumentalism then there is a serious tension with the Monetary history. But I think that's just another reason to reject the instrumentalist reading of F1953.
B) I think serial history has relatively standardized and stabilized (constructed) data available that run long periods. I don't think that's available to us in natural history; I tend to think of Diamond's work more about marshaling, very creatively converging evidence. But there is no doubt that serial history has commonalities with the kind of Darwinian/geological/anthropological projects of Diamond. What do you think?

anna  alexandrova

OK thanks. On (A): It's not like F1953 with a realist reading is any more friendly to the sort of data-driven approach that serial history exemplifies. Minimal models even when interpreted in a realist fashion (i.e. in a Galilean way) are still minimal. So either way we have a tension.

eric Schliesser

Ah, we disagree, Anna! But thank you for pushing the point. For, it is the minimal model that tells you what data really counts as data and what counts as noise. In Monetery history, Friedman has a fairly minimal (Monetarist) model and he uses it to interpret and test the data. (He also finds an alternative model wanting in light of the data.) One way to understand Piketty's criticism is that in the monetary history the model is too minimal that Friedman fails to explore alternative institutions.

anna  alexandrova

i see, perhaps. Thank!

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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